I had a handyman come to patch a hole in my wall. The installation was fine, but it seems he applied the mud over the tape in such a way that the joints are visible. The tape has sunk into the bedding.

Can this be fixed? If so, how? Should I just apply more mud over the joints with a large knife? also, as you can see from the picture the mud has dried in a rather sloppy way, impasto perhaps. Can I sand over all that, before applying another layer of mud? I know I risk screwing up the tape but...Also since the mud is uneven, is a sanding mesh the preferred option?

enter image description here

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    Ask the person to finish the job, if this is what they left you, they should not be paid.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 15:18
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    This video from CertainTeed (a major drywall manufacturer) is absolute gold by the way: certainteed.com/drywall-finishing-made-easy-certainteed-gypsum Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 16:13
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    Yeah, your handyman isn't done - if you paid them for this job then they should be coming back to finish it. With a heavy first coat you need to let it dry at least for a few hours before touching it so they're probably planning to come back to do the fill and skim another day. If they're not coming back and you've paid them then get your money back.
    – J...
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 23:50
  • The installation was fine - you just redefined my definition of "fine" in a way I previously thought impossible
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 11:40
  • @CaiusJard I only meant installation before mud application
    – blue_ego
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 13:10

3 Answers 3


That looks fine other than being incomplete.

Don't sand anything there. That's not how drywall finishing is done. Just give it a scrape with your taping knife to knock off any bumps and crumbs, then skim with a wide knife--at least 10". Try to use the tape joints as level guides; fill between and taper outward.

Apply thin, smooth coats by holding the knife at a low angle and pressing firmly. Less is better than more. Let it dry and repeat. A fan will make quick work of drying thin coats.

The only sanding in a taping job comes at the end, and it's just to knock off tiny imperfections. You should not be shaping anything by sanding. That gets done with knives.

RibaldEddie suggested a good video. All of it's worth a watch, but pay particular attention to step 3, which is what I'm suggesting you do here.

  • Exactly. After the tape is embedded in joint compound, there should be no sanding at that stage. You need to coat the joint with finish compound with a wide knife. Then you can scuff sand the first layer just to knock off any high spots. Then one more coat, sand and should be done. But what the OP is showing isn’t nearly a done job. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 16:02
  • I will say though that’s a poor taping job. There should be no excess compound on the wall. The tape should be the highest, most visible protrusion. Tape should be embedded in compound but with no compound anywhere else. Instead of having to feather around just the joint, now the entire messy rectangle has to be covered, with a wide feather around. Given how close to the perpendicular wall, it’s a pain to get right. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 18:12
  • I don't necessarily agree. (Or I don't get your point.) Tape applied with a banjo, for example, will have a thin coating over it. When I set tape I skim over it immediately. Not everyone lays tape on top as you describe. Also, any tape job has to be tapered out. Even recessed joints should be feathered out beyond the channel.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 18:13
  • I’m just saying that after taping a rectangular patch. I would expect to still see the visible rectangular patch and tape with flat, minimal mud outside of the borders of the tape. And nothing in the center of the patch. Not a big slab of mud with all those ridges covering the entire patch area. The purpose of next coat is to cover the tape and feather out the height of the tape. In the OP’s picture, there’s a lot more height to hide/feather than there should be. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 18:20
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    You're nitpicking. A small patch like this can be fully skimmed on the first coat without a problem. Also, I don't use anything less than a 6" knife for taping, so it would be difficult not to fill in that small area.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 18:21

Sanding it down and then using more mud and feather it out. Do not worry about going to far in feathering. 6 or 12 inches if there is a lump should make the wall look smoother/flatter.

It is very messy and dust get everywhere if not contained/vacuum when doing the sanding.

Some of the tape looks to have air bubbles that will need to be popped. Some might need to be redone.

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    You might clarify what "sand it down" means, and bubbles can't be "popped". They must be cut out. Usually small bubbles can simply be excised and skimmed over with no tape patch.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 18:23

If that drywall patch was on any of my jobs, I'd scrape it all off and start over. Terrible tape job. Air under tape, far too much mud.

  • actually it worked it out, but a lot of sanding!
    – blue_ego
    Commented Mar 16 at 12:47

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